All Nigeria needs from President Buhari is captured in just one word. Leadership. Leadership in steering the Nigerian state to a better state of being. Leadership in managing the economy. Leadership in ensuring that infrastructure across the country is brought up to par with current reality.
Leadership in ensuring that the Nigerian economy grows and remain healthy so that citizens and inhabitants of the Nigerian space can access a better life and contribute to the well being of society.
Leadership in ensuring that the quality of education in the country is kept at high standards so that minds can be built and intellects developed in such a manner that Nigerians will be equipped to add value to society and create opportunities to enliven the Nigerian state.
Leadership that will ensure that sinkholes are blocked and Nigerians are strengthened to abhor corruption and contribute to the growth of their country. Leadership that will ensure that human life and property is safe and secure.
Different segments of the Nigerian society today will have varying assessments of how well President Muhammadu Buhari has performed in providing leadership to Nigeria and Nigerians today, but one area that Nigerians will agree that a lot has gone wrong is the state of the economy.
One of the biggest challenges in Nigeria today is that of the management of foreign exchange (FOREX) policy especially with respect to its attendant effect on the national economy.
In barely 18 months of the current administration, the Naira, which used to exchange for 180 Naira to the Dollar, now goes for almost 500 Naira!
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) claims that about 54 of its members stopped production and shut down between 2015 and 2016. A research by another study team, Center for the Study of Economics shows that about 222 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises failed between August 2015 and August 2016. There are indicators that 2017 might just be another sad story for the economy.
There seems to be grim confusion amongst President Buhari’s economic management team, if indeed there is one. Nobody seems to know what to do. At least that is what it looks like. A treacherous blame game continues to run riotously while the ship of state continues to drift recklessly at sea.
The President has openly acknowledged that he does not understand his economists even as the economists themselves try to give Nigerians the impression that they are careful not to go against the President’s body language – whatever that may mean.
The bottom-line is that the President must rise up to the challenge for which he has sworn to. This is not a time for excuses. When he campaigned under the banner of change, he promised those who voted for him that he was going to change Nigeria for the better and not to spend two whole years giving excuses why he cannot make Nigeria better.
President Buhari must as a matter of urgency, find capable hands who understand what it takes to run the economy of Africa’s most populous Nation. Nigeria is not a laboratory where neophytes will be called upon to conduct economic experiments on how best to drive economic growth and wellbeing. There are thousands of Nigerians who have the ability and knowhow to drive the Nigerian economy and take us out of this chaos and quagmire that we find ourselves.
Key stakeholders have continued to clamour for a review of the country’s current monetary policy as a solution to taking the country out of recession. Why is no one listening and acting upon it?
Why are we not seeing bold and aggressive attempts to re-engineer our economy, diversify our economic base, upgrade infrastructure, enhance agriculture and generate employment?
Why are we not seeing frenzied attempts to drive innovation and creativity? Why is so much time being spent putting blames on past administrations and giving excuses on why the current administration cannot perform to the expectation of Nigerians?
Were they elected to give excuses or provide solutions to the Nigerian question?
It took President Buhari about six months to name his cabinet of ministers. At the time, he told Nigerians that he was not in a hurry to appoint ministers and called them noisemakers.
Today, Nigerians are seeing the result of that delay in putting together a team that is supposed to assist in delivering a mandate.
It is a good thing that people from the president’s own party have begun to lend their voices to the call for better management of the economy and the fact that better hands be headhunted to guard and guide the ship of state in the development and management of a more prosperous economic roadmap for Nigeria and Nigerians.
Whether we like Buhari or not, it would be a tragedy for Nigerians to witness four years of huge economic failure. It is therefore not too late to begin to think afresh.
George Kerley is an entrepreneur, writer, social justice advocate, and political analyst who is passionate about the development of his home state, Rivers and the entire Niger Delta region. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.